What are some examples of connotation in "A & P" by John Updike?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Words can have two kinds of meanings, denotative and connotative. Denotative meanings are the strict literal meanings of a word. Connotative meanings are the added emotional weight certain words have. A common example is the difference between the words frugal and cheap. Both mean the same thing, being careful about money, but the connotative or emotional meaning of cheap is far more negative, implying a character flaw, than the connotative meaning of frugal.

Because we see the story of "A&P" through the eyes of Sammy, his emotional reaction to what he is seeing colors his thoughts and therefore affects the words he uses. For instance, the connotations of the words he picks to describe his manager, Lengel, show Sammy's negative opinion of him. Sammy states:

Lengel comes in from haggling with a truck full of cabbages on the lot and is about to scuttle into that door marked MANAGER behind which he hides all day when the girls touch his eye.

Using the word "haggling" instead of bargaining or...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 905 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on March 13, 2020
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team